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Naturalize Your Landscape

Re-Wilding McKellar Guide

 by Chris Clayton


Where To Plant

To work out where you could plant more trees and shrubs, it's a good idea to create a “base plan" of your property. You can draw this base plan on a copy of your legal survey. It can be enlarged on any photocopier set to 200%.

Steve's Plan - with Chris Clayton's help

Phase 1 - by not mowing the hillside and creek area, a substantial wetland was created for ducks, birds and sleeping deer.
Phase 2 - let the wetland near the lake expand towards the dock. A diagonal path to the dock and new shrubs in the shore area will prevent erosion and keep geese off the lawn. The road side tree area will not be cut, enhancing privacy and saving gas. Pirate boat will set sail and the swings are moving to a neighbour with grandchildren.

Sketch a Plan

Walk around your place and draw onto this base plan the location of:

  • hydro lines, propane tank, well, parking spots, snow dump areas, sheds and wood piles.
  • the water front, steep hills, rock outcrops, existing trees and / or forest, next note the direction of your favourite views.
  • the level or nearly level places where you and the kids play, fly kites, play games or other beloved activities as well as necessary paths to connect them all.


Now you can begin to sketch in possible locations. Beyond the obvious "blank spaces," here are a few other places to consider:

Steep hillsides. They don’t have to be mown grass; they can host native grasses and perennial flowers.

Existing tree lines. You can expand them with a hedgerow of native trees and shrubs.

Hilltops. You can crown a commanding hill top with a grove of Jack Pine reminiscent of those in a Group of Seven painting.

Ditches. You can plant moisture loving trees in ditches, which provides a side benefit of preventing the lawn mower from getting stuck in mud.

Near your shoreline. You can leave a 10 ft. wide strip of low wetland shrubs and native flowers at your shoreline to discourage Canada Geese.

Rocky shorelines. Planting Jack Pine can give character to your rocks.

Forest. You can enhance a forest with understory shrubs for wildlife.

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